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Your Guide to Beaches Near the Main Line for Labor Day

Adobe Stock / Patrick Moyer

Looking for sandy getaways this Labor Day weekend? These old favorites, along with a few hidden gems, offer sun, surf and delicious food all wrapped into a tiny slice of Americana.

So close to several different coasts, the Main Line is just a short drive from dozens of beaches. With so many options to choose from, it can be hard to narrow down your Labor Day beach vacation options. These are just a few of the top shore towns within driving distance of Philadelphia’s western suburbs.

Cape May

Drive time: 2 hours


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Perhaps the most idyllic beach town on the East Coast, the pastel colors and charming inns of Cape May paint a nostalgic picture of a simpler time in this South Jersey town. Play mini golf, hit the arcades or have a nourishing breakfast at one of dozens of top eateries like Uncle Bill’s of the Mad Batter. After an exhausting day in the sand and surf, head down Sunset Boulevard to the shipwreck at Cape May Point and take in a beautiful sunset over the bay.

Atlantic City

Drive time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Planning a Labor Day weekend with the girls? Head down to the casinos and boardwalk at Atlantic City for adult-themed fun. Hit the beach after winning big at the tables, stroll down the boardwalk and pick up a classic Italian ice at one of the many souvenir shops along the coast.


Drive time: 2 hours


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Looking for the action of Atlantic City but a younger audience? Packed with arcades, amusement parks, delicious restaurants and sandy beaches, Wildwood doesn’t disappoint. Don’t forget to watch out for the iconic tram car.


Drive time: 1 hour and 40 minutes


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Featuring calm waters and soft sand, this North Jersey town is one of the top spots for fishing, observing wildlife or wading through shallow waters. If thrill-seeking is more your style, head down to the Manasquan inlet for one of New Jersey’s most electric surf spots.

Cape Henlopen State Park

Drive time: 2 hours

The six miles of coast line at Cape Henlopen State Park make this one of the top public beaches anywhere in the United States. In fact, it was one of the first public lands ever established in the U.S. in 1682. Besides the famous beaches, check out the fishing pier, disc golf, World War II-era fort or Gordon’s Pond Trail.

Bethany Beach

Drive time: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Known for its boardwalk-backed, small town charm, this family-friendly spot is the perfect place to spend your last hurrah of summer. Though it lacks the glitz and bluster of many amusement park-based towns on the coast, Bethany offers a quiet and relaxed atmosphere, perfect for soaking in the sun and napping in the shade of an umbrella this Labor Day.

Rehoboth Beach

Drive time: 2 hours and 10 minutes

Perhaps Delaware’s most iconic beach town, Rehoboth earned the nickname, “America’s Summer Capital” in the 1920s when it became a retreat for the Washington D.C. elite. Today, its powdered shoreline and boardwalk attract a more contemporary crowd and is home to a thriving LGBTQ+ community.

Ocean City, MD

Drive time: 2 hours and 50 minutes


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The first thing you’ll notice about Ocean City is the giant Ferris wheel at Jolly Roger Pier. This classic slice of Americana places thrilling amusement rides next to white sand beaches. Feast on Maryland blue crabs or stock up at the bait and tackle shops to go catch your own dinner.

Assateague Island

Drive time: 3 hours and 40 minutes

Just a few miles south of Ocean City, Assateague Island is home to some of the top untouched natural landscapes on the Atlantic coast. Go hiking and witness herds of wild horses or rent canoes and watch the fish swim beneath your boat. The powdered sand beaches won’t disappoint either.

Kent Island

Drive time: 2 hours


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This Chesapeake island features the 276-acre Terrapin National Park. Its scenic trails take you through wildflowers, wetlands, woodlands and sandy beaches where you can swim in the calm waters of the bay. Don’t forget to help yourself to the crabcakes, too.

Related: 4 Charming Vrbo Beach Rentals Near the Main Line

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